Enough

This time of the year the word “enough” is used quite a bit…
After Thanksgiving dinner I said, “I’ve had enough.”
Grandmothers are popular for asking with their sweet voice, “Have you had enough to eat?”
We parents are famous for declaring, “Enough already!”
Exasperation leads us to scream, “Enough is enough!”
When we are fed up with someone or some thing we might proclaim, “That’s enough!”
As conscientious drivers we may ask our passengers, “Are you warm enough?”

Perhaps the most painful way we use the word “enough” is when we subconsciously, unwillingly and fearfully place two little one syllable words in front of the word “enough.”
Two words, three letters and two vowels…

Am I enough?

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday

Julie and I were dating when we met a most special young lady.
She was in high school.
Her parents were divorced and we became great friends with her mom and stepfather.
We watched her mow through college.
We rejoiced as she earned her teaching degree.
With great pride our hearts swelled as she got her first job.
And of course, along the way a young man came into the picture and before you know it, marriage brought another young man, a little boy, a son. Now she is expecting once again.
She’s the type of woman that if your daughter grew up to be half the lady she is you would be thrilled.

But, she has one particular issue…
“Stupid dad issues…” (At least that’s how she framed the issue in a text to me recently)

If you don’t have “Stupid Dad issues” I bet you have one or more of these…
Stupid Boss issues
Stupid Mom issues
Stupid Husband issues
Stupid Wife issues
Stupid Blogger issues
Stupid Kids issues
Stupid Employee issues
Stupid Enemy issues
Stupid Friends issues
Stupid Self issues

You get the picture…
I don’t know the whole story with my dear friend and her “Stupid Dad” (I say that tongue in cheek!), so this next paragraph is purely conjecture…
In relation to our moms and dads, little girls, along with little boys (As long as our parents are alive we are little girls and little boys) want to know one thing and one thing only…

Am I enough?

We excel in school. We behave. We develop great friendships. We keep our rooms clean and our mouths a little bit cleaner. We win the game. We get the girl or boy. We go to church. We win the approval of our friends and teachers. We serve the homeless. And the question remains…

Am I enough?

With regards to my beautiful, vivacious, lovely friend, I just wonder if her dad has ever taken the time to place his big hands gently on her cheeks with his thumbs perfectly positioned along her cute nose and look deeply in her eyes and say, “Oh dear one, I love you with a deep love that makes my heart skip a beat at the very sight of you. My heart swells with pride at the very thought or mention of your precious name. Hear me when I say, ‘I love you, I am so proud of you and yes, you are more than enough.'”

Jesus was 30 years old when he heard from his Dad for the first time that he was enough.
I was 43 years old when I heard from my dad that I was enough.
How old were you?
Or…
Are you still waiting…still wondering?

I’m not your dad, but I am hoping that you will be courageous enough to do just one thing.
Take that question, “Am I enough?” and rearrange the words and make it a declaration…

I am enough!

The reality is that you really are enough!
If you can make that declaration it just might be the best Christmas gift you will ever receive…
And that would be enough to last a lifetime!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2. 9 ESV)

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3. 16-17 ESV)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

ps – To my dear friend with the “Stupid Dad” issues… You are more than enough!!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

PICK ME…

There are two tennis courts that sit next to one another in our neighborhood.
Joshua and I were on one court when a lovely young couple of lovebirds settled onto the adjoining court.
They weren’t classical tennis players.
They were just two people out to hit a couple of tennis balls back and forth to one another.

She was young and vivacious with long bouncy brown hair and dark features that complemented her bright white smile. Her tightly wrapped skirt revealed a pair of long legs adorned with brightly colored shoes that were probably never meant to play tennis in.

He was young as well with a four day growth of a beard that made him look scruffy. His deep red T-Shirt, brown baggy shorts and classic topsider shoes revealed a fashion sense that shouted, “I’m not a professional tennis player” as well.

They were out to have fun and I am the type of tennis fanatic that loves it when anyone is out on the tennis court hitting balls.
Another accessory that this young man had was a pair of shiny red “Beats” headphones that he insisted on wearing while he and his girl were playing. The “Beats” were attached by a long red cord that was attached to his phone.

While Joshua and I played a few games of tennis, I couldn’t help but notice the young woman standing on the baseline with her left hand on her left hip and her right hand with racquet firmly held in her right hand dangling aimlessly by her long right leg.

A quick look to my left revealed the young man texting away…
This happened consistently over a one half hour period.
My heart went out to this young lady as she stood there patiently growing more impatient with each passing text. To further complicate matters she had to raise her voice in order for him to be able to hear him over his well placed “Beats” headphones.

The silent and yet vocal urgent plea that filled the air over and over again shouted one thing and one only…PICK ME!!!!
Please PICK ME over who you are texting!
PICK ME over whatever song you are listening to instead of hearing my unique God given voice.
PICK ME to pay attention to…
PICK ME because I am not sure how much longer I can stand here with my racquet in hand and stay out here making a fool of myself because I really want to believe that you want to be with me…
PICK ME because when you text and listen to music over listening to me I feel utterly and totally worthless…
PICK ME please!!
PICK ME please???
PICK ME…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…

Starting Friday, Black Friday there will be hundreds of million items on shelves and on internet pages that will be shouting, “PICK ME! PICK ME!!!”

You and I will literally have some difficult choices to make over the next 35 days or so…
The work party will say PICK ME…
The incentive to make some extra money will say PICK ME…
The temptation to spend time with friends instead of with family will shout PICK ME…
That gluttonous desire of “want” over “need” will turn up the volume this holiday season proclaiming, PICK ME…
Your spouse, your children, your parents, your in-laws, your brothers and sisters will legitimately and confidently speak these words – PICK ME…
The items on the shelves of the stores be they in person or on the internet will seductively whisper PICK ME…
That lonely voice that wants you to put on your “Beats” and disassociate yourself from everything will patiently and persistently echo these words – PICK ME…
As you scan the shelves of all of the above items pay attention to the one item in the middle…
He’s little…
He’s awfully innocent looking…
His deep eyes will draw you in…
He’s wrapped in swaddling cloths…
His voice coos with a sense of compassion that strikes a deep chord within your very soul as he lovingly says PICK ME…

His name is Jesus and I can guarantee that he is worth picking this holiday season!

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth,
and he said to him, “Follow me. (PICK ME)” And he rose and followed him. (Matthew 9. 9)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

The Bully

He stands all of five feet tall and maybe one half inch…
His weight fluctuates between one hundred and one hundred and five…
He’s in 7th grade… his first year in Junior High.
He’s new…
He’s low man on the totem pole of the three year Junior High experience.
He’s smart…
He’s athletic…
He’s prepubescent… (no facial hair, no armpit hair… no hair grows where it will grow a few years from now.)

It’s approaching lunch time after fourth period English.
His eyes dart…
His blood pressure spikes…
His low level anxiety has been on the rise since he sat down at his wooden desk in fourth period English…
He makes his way to his locker..
He carefully and quickly dials the combination… 0…10…36
He forcefully jerks up the stubborn steel latch…
He dumps his books in his personalized, shag carpet lined locker…
He grabs his bagged lunch by the folded top that was so carefully and lovingly packed by his mom.
He slams the stubborn, steel, bent, locker door, slamming it against the bent metal latch making that striking metal on metal sound…
He knows what is inside the brown bag…
Sandwich…
Chips…
Fruit…
Dessert…
And some other food surprise…
He’s got the best lunch in town…
He knows it…

He makes his way to the lunch area… the quad
And then the game begins…
He wants to be inconspicuous…
He’s looking for an “out of the way” space to eat even though every available place is in the wide open…
His eyes dart back and forth, taking in every student, every garment of clothing, every face, I mean “every” face…
His outside demeanor is cool, collected and controlled…
His insides are a mess…

He’s got the best lunch in town…
He knows it…

And so does the bully who is busily on the prowl trying to track him down for the fifth day in a row…

SeeingGodAtWorkdEveryday…

I don’t know the bully’s name…
But I do know the name of the boy that was bullied…
You do too…
David Dendy

I saw a video on Facebook today about two boys on Britain’s Got Talent that were rapping about bullying.
I had an instant flashback to my first year at Yorba Junior High School in Orange, California.
Too scared to say anything… Too scared to do anything other than cower and watch this bully threaten and stick his hand in my brown bag and take what he wanted… This went on for five days…
It didn’t last long but it left a permanent scar…

Nothing gets under my skin faster and deeper than bullying.
My insides light up like the Fourth of July…
I have no doubt this experience is the reason my alter egos throughout life have been Steven Seagal, Jack Reacher, Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Jason Statham, Stallone and The Rock.
Pardon the “French”… But these guys stand up for the “little” guys, kick ass, take no prisoners and don’t even ask questions later.
How much as a seventh grader I wanted to be 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weigh about 250!! (Sometimes I still daydream about such things!)

I hated that bully for years.
For the fear he instilled in me.
For the way he emasculated my self-esteem, my sense of boyhood and masculinity…
For the way I lived in fear during the lunch hour…

Today…
I prayed for him for the first time…
With time comes maturity and perspective…
For all I know he came from a home where he himself was bullied every night…
For all I know his mom never packed him a full lunch…
For all I know he came to lunch after fourth period starving, literally…
For all I know this was all he knew how to be in order to survive in his world…
I don’t hate him anymore…
My heart is sad, distressed and broken for him… I pray that he has somehow been restored to a full and rich life, free from bullying…

Overall, I give great thanks to God for using that bully to bring about good and “life” in my world.
Without the bully, maybe I wouldn’t have the fierceness that I have today for those who get bullied.
Without the bully, maybe I wouldn’t have the acute awareness that I have today to recognize people who are hurting emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Without the bully, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As painful as it was, I give thanks today to God for…
The Bully

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50. 19-21)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Sacrifice

173rd Fighter Wing Oregon Air National Guard

Who can forget the eloquent letter written to Mrs. Bixby from President Abraham Lincoln comforting her on the loss of her five sons fighting for the Union in the Civil War that was featured in the patriotic movie “Saving Private Ryan?”

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln
On this Veteran’s Day 2014 in honor of the armistice that was signed on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the eleventh hour in the year 1918… To the brave and courageous men and women of these United States of America who took the oath and signed their name on the bottom line to offer their lives in such a way that one day, God forbid, their loved ones back home might receive a similar letter, I stand at attention and offer you my most heartfelt, honorable salute. Thank you!

Freedom is never free!
Thank you to the men and women who currently serve and have served.
Thank you to the families who have sacrificed much along with their beloved veterans.
Thank you for the sacrifice!

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday

I never volunteered to serve in our nation’s military.
I never took the oath or signed on the bottom line.
I did however, take an oath to serve the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, strength, and spirit.
And due to that commitment comes sacrifice…
There are days that I wonder if I have sacrificed enough to honor the kingdom, the God and the Lord of Lords that I have promised to serve and for whom I call it a privilege to offer my life as a sacrifice.

I thank all of the Christians that have literally offered their very lives as a sacrifice to build up the kingdom of God.
They have sacrificially laid their lives on the altar of freedom so that we may continue to walk in the freedom Christ offers to every one of us.

To those Christians I offer my heartfelt and tender salute!

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5. 10)

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12. 1)

ps – To my dear and honorable friend Lt. Colonel Skip “Hoss” Robertson, devoted husband, loving father, faithful friend, F-15 fighter pilot, flying with the angels…I love you, I miss you, I salute you this day!   “Fly Skip Fly!” (6/18/1962 – 2/26/2006)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday.com

The Bus and the Backpack

It’s a routine ritual that repeats itself every day… Monday through Friday.
It’s one of those routines that will never find itself turning into a rut.
Around 3:30 in the afternoon the school bus on route 3172 comes bustling down the street with a “busload” of children.
At “our” corner some 12-15 kids “de-bus” into the waiting and loving arms of their moms along with the one dad – me!

And then it happens…
Almost subconsciously…
Almost without active thought…
Almost like poetry in motion…
Joshua descends the steps from the bright yellow school bus while the sedentary lady bus driver who wears driving gloves sits in the backdrop…
Seamlessly, Joshua removes his “heavy, heavy” backpack into my waiting arms and in one swift motion Joshua’s backpack is transferred onto my back.
Fifteen seconds later Faith descends the steps from the bright yellow school bus while the sedentary lady bus driver who wears driving gloves sits in the backdrop…
The pattern that took place fifteen seconds earlier repeats itself with Faith’s purple pack… Quickly, effortlessly, joyfully her backpack ascends my long arm to sit squarely and securely on my broad shoulders.
Faith’s backpack nestles up next to Joshua’s to give a Siamese twins look.
We walk home…
Excuse me…
I walk home…
Faith and Joshua skip and run effortlessly all the way home as the backpack that burdened them bears weight on them no longer…
IMG_0047

The truth of this daily routine is plain for all to see…
The father (me) cannot take the weight of the burdensome backpacks from his children (Faith and Joshua) until they get off the bus…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…

The backpack cannot weigh more than five or eight pounds. But to Faith and Joshua, the backpacks are so heavy!!
The burden of the backpack is light to my 208 pound buff (LOL!) frame.

As I mentioned before…I cannot take the backpacks until they get off the bus.
Are you riding any buses lately?
Same route?
Same destination over and over and over again?
Carrying the same baggage and backpack around and around and around again?

The bus is a nice place.
Comfortable seats.
Or, at least seats that you have gotten used to sitting (residing) in.
Nice people are close by in their respective seats.
(Just a side note… hanging out with people stuck on the same bus day in and day out might not be the best thing)
In fact, the bus driver seems like a very nice person…

How many corners have you passed with Jesus standing there patiently and expectantly waiting for you to get off the bus…so that He can joyfully take your burdens…and give you rest…so that you can freely run with a skip in your step?

Here’s the word of the day…

Get off the bus!

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11. 28)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Jumping Sheep

I was having a very spiritually enlightening lunch the other day, feasting on a scrumptious Fuji Apple salad, listening intently to a friend of mine tell me about his latest missionary excursion to Ecuador.

He was visiting with an Ecuadorian shepherd and asked him a most seemingly innocent and innocuous question, “What is the biggest challenge in shepherding sheep?”

The Ecuadorian shepherd was quick with his reply, “Keeping the sheep from jumping out of the pen!”

My friend’s follow-up question was a natural… ”Well then, how do you keep them from jumping out of the pen?”

The Ecuadorian shepherd smiled and answered in the most relaxed way, “Feed them good food. When the sheep are being rightly fed there is no need for them to jump out of the pen.”

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday
This raises a most fascinating and intriguing question.

What are you feasting on these days?
What kind of food do you eat that properly and rightly nourishes your spirit and soul?
Does what you eat or what you don’t eat have you constantly on your toes looking for ways to jump out of your current pen?

Or…
Are you eating and feasting upon food that is nourishing,
satisfying
and enriching your soul that it keeps your very soul “grounded”?

I don’t want to be getting a little jumpy!!
Do you?

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields
beside streams of refreshing water.
He soothes my fears;
He makes me whole again,
steering me off worn, hard paths
    to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.

Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
    near with Your protection and guidance,
I am comforted.

You spread out a table before me,
provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
filling my cup again and again with Your grace.

Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me
where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal,
in Your house forever. (Psalm 23 The Voice)
David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Brittany Maynard died yesterday…


Except she didn’t…

The beautiful 29 year old newlywed, who had made the announcement that she would choose to end her life with dignity on Saturday, November 1st (two days after her husband’s birthday) has decided to wait and choose another day to die with dignity…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday

This has to be one of the most heartbreaking stories I have read in recent days. A beautiful young bride gets married and is off to the races with her new husband and then gets the awful diagnosis of a brain tumor that is most aggressive and is told by her doctor that probably in the next 6-9 months you are going to die a horrible, painful death due to this cancer.
Forgive me, but this just sucks! All the way around!
In the aftermath of this diagnosis Brittany Maynard moved with her husband to Oregon to exercise the state’s right to die with dignity by taking a mixture of drugs prescribed by her doctor that will end her life.
With her bucket list completed by visiting the Grand Canyon last week, the date of November 1st loomed large.

The other day Brittany chose to change the date…
I don’t blame her. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes…

There are four words that come to mind with this whole situation…They all begin with the letter “C”

Cancer – I will never forget reading a book in college called “Illness as Metaphor” where the author, Susan Sontag asks a chilling question that chills me to this day, “When will the day come where we will hear the word “cancer” and won’t immediately associate it with the word “death?”  There have been great strides in medicine on cancer, but the day Susan Sontag longs for has not arrived…yet. I have lost too many friends to the non-discriminating disease we call cancer.

Choice – Brittany has chosen to end her life with dignity. What a wonderful gift God has given us in “choices.” God is pro-choice. God given us the free will to make the choices before us. We are not robots or automatons. That is a God given gift.

I am moved by what Moses says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30.19)
Yes, we have choices…but choose life! Which makes God pro-life as well…

Joshua talks about all the choices we have in the various gods we will serve and then concludes with: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24. 15)
Yes, there are many gods to serve, but I choose to serve the Lord.

We all have choices to make. Moses encourages us to “choose” life. Joshua models for us that he will “choose” to serve the Lord.

I do my best to “choose” life over death day by day. There is no doubt that I have made many choices in my 51 years that have brought “death” to my body, mind, life and spirit. Overall, my position and my utmost desire is to lean toward choosing life and choosing to serve the Lord.

Then perhaps for another day, we can look at the scriptures that talk about how God “chose us” (before we could choose Him) through Christ before the foundations of the world to become holy and blameless (Ephesians 1.4).

Control – I have watched Brittany’s video and have listened to a number of TV commentaries and read my fair share of online blogs that have voiced their commendations and condemnations on this whole issue. The one word that comes up over and over is the word “control.”
Brittany wants to “control” how she dies. With the ability to control how she dies comes dignity.
I am in a bit of quandary on this one.
I would love to control how I die! I want to die in my sleep with no pain…
Unfortunately, for me that luxury is not mine to determine.
I have known a lot of people who died in all sorts of ways and in my mind and heart they all died with great dignity.
Some died in their sleep. My grandmother put her hand to her head and said to her husband, “Oh Marshall…” and then died of a massive stroke. Another friend screamed and writhed in pain for three days straight before she died due to cancer. The last words one of my best friends heard from his co-pilot was, “I’ve got it. I’ve go it.” His co-pilot didn’t have it and the plane crashed and the two were killed. My spiritual mentor in high school took his own life a few years ago in a most violent way. The dad of a friend of mine lived for two years in a comatose state in the guest room of his house before dying. Never once did I think my friend’s dad had lost his dignity as he laid there day after day. His dad had a profound, spiritually positive effect on the family even in his comatose state. This list could go on and on. In the end, these beautiful people that I knew and loved never lost their dignity. Their dignity was never dependent or contingent upon their manner of death.

Another tough lesson I have learned in life is that I am not in control of much of anything. I can hardly control myself!
God is in control and I am not…
As a Christ follower, that is a decision that I chose to make and that is to surrender, release my “perceived sense of control” and turn it over to the One who controls all.

Christ – Jesus was perhaps the first one to predict accurately how he was going to die. He mentioned on no less than three occasions that he would go to Jerusalem and be beaten, spit upon, scourged, betrayed and ultimately crucified.
Jesus asked God, his Father in the garden of Gethsemane that if there was another way to die, to let him die differently. There was no other way.
Jesus died just as he predicted…in a most horrific way.
In being crucified in the most humiliating way Jesus never lost his dignity…

Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that pain and suffering are a part of a dignified life.
I wish it wasn’t.
However, I have learned some of life’s greatest lessons through pain and suffering.

I find great comfort and hope in my suffering because the one who loves me the most, Jesus, chose to die with great pain, suffering, and dignity in order that I might have life and life eternal.

I pray for Brittany and her family…I hope you will too…
She has a lot of choices before her…
As do we all…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 2. 9-11)